Invoking The Supreme Goddess


‘Mahalaya’  heralds the advent of Maa Durga/Shakti, the Goddess of Supreme Power and the day today (23rd Sept), marked a special day of Mahalaya, of the year 2014.

Maa Durga is The Invincible One, She who cannot be defeated in battle. Mahalaya is a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth – “Jago Tumi Jago, Jago Maa”. This is done through the chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs. Mahalaya has come to associate itself with an early morning community invocation, the invocation known as Mahishasura Mardini or The Annihilation of the Demon- Mahishasura.

The time at which Durga Puja is celebrated nowadays (autumn) is not supposed to be the right time to perform the puja, as per the scriptures. That is why Durga Puja is also sometimes called Akaal Bodhan (untimely invocation). The reason for this timing may be traced back to the days of Ramayana. Lord Rama had performed Chandi Puja at this time to invoke the blessings of Maa Durga before waging war with Ravana, the king who had abducted his wife, Sita. There was a demon Mahishasura who performed several penances and was granted a boon by Brahma, the creator of the universe, that he could not be killed by Man or God. Having received this boon, he promptly began to terrorize heaven and earth, even defeating Indra, the king of the gods, and driving the gods out of heaven. Unable to tolerate his tyranny the gods pleaded with Vishnu to annihilate the demon.

The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara (Shiva) came together to create a powerful female form with ten arms – Goddess Durga or ‘Mahamaya’, the Mother of the Universe who embodied the primeval source of all power. She faced Mahishasura in battle, with ten hands wielding ten powerful weapons given to her by the Gods – Shiva’s trident, Vishnu’s discus, Indra’s thunderbolt, bow and arrows, a sword, a mace, a snake, a conch and a lotus flower. The battle was fierce and Mahishasura, the demon, took on the forms of many terrible beasts to try and defeat her. Mahishasura’s army also contained many colourful asuras, notable among whom was Raktabija (literally ‘blood seeds’), every drop of whose blood transformed into a clone of Raktabija when it touched the ground. Maa Durga replied by creating a more terrible form of herself, Maa Kali, who spread out her giant tongue to drink his blood before it touched the ground, thus bringing about his downfall. Maa Durga proved to be more than a match for the asura armies. She annihilated them and finally slayed Mahishasura on the tenth day when he was transforming from buffalo to human form.

Heaven and earth rejoiced at her victory !

 

If you wish to hear the invocation, you can listen to the audio posted below, it is a beautiful rendition of a powerful invocation to the Goddess.

 

Below is the description extracted from the Shlokas, how Maa Durga came to being formed 🙂

“He (Mahishasura) himself has assumed the jurisdictions of Surya, Indra, Agni, Vayu, Chandra, Yama and Varuna and other (devas). Thrown out from heaven by the evil-natured Mahisha, the hosts of devas wander on the earth like mortals. All that has been done by the enemy of the devas, has been related to you both, and we have sought shelter under you both. May both of you be pleased to think out the means of his destruction.”

Having thus heard the words of the devas, Vishnu was angry and also Shiva, and their faces became fierce with frowns. Then issued forth a great light from the face of Vishnu who was full of intense anger, and from that of Brahma and Shiva too. From the bodies of Indra and other devas also sprang forth a very great light. And (all) the light united together.
The devas saw there a concentration of light like a mountain blazing excessively, pervading all the quarters with its flames. Then that unique light produced from the bodies of all the devas, pervading all the three worlds with its lusture, combined into one and became a female form.

By that which was Shiva’s light, her face came into being; by Yama’s (light) her hair, by Vishnu’s light her arms; and by Chandra’s (light) her two breasts. By Indra’s light her waist, by Varun’s (light) her shanks and thighs and by earth’s light her hips. By Brahma’s light her feet came into being; by Surya’s light her toes, by Vasu’s (light) her fingers, by Kuber’s (light) her nose; by Prajapati’s light her teeth came into being and similarly by Agni’s light her three eyes were formed. The light of the two sandhyas became her eye-brows, the light of Vayu her ears; the manifestation of the lights of other devas too ( contributed to the being of the ) auspicious Devi.

Then looking at her, who came into being from the assembled lights of all the devas, the immortals who were oppressed by Mahishasura experienced joy. The bearer of Pinaaka (hiva) drawing forth a trident from his own trident presented it to her; and Vishnu bringing forth a discus out of his own discus gave her. Varuna gave her a conch, Agni a spear; Maruta gave a bow as well as two quivers full of arrows.

Indra, lord of devas, bringing forth a thrunderbolt out of (his own) thunderbolt and a bell from his elephant Airaavata, gave her. Yama gave a staff from his own staff of Death and Varuna the lord of waters, noose; and Brahma, the lord of beings, gave a string of beads and water-pot.

Surya bestowed his own rays on all the pores of her skin and Kaala (Time) gave her a spotless sword and a shield.
The milk-ocean gave a pure necklace, a pair of undecaying garments, a divine crest-jewel, a pair of ear-rings, bracelets, a brilliant half-moon(ornament), armlets on all arms, a pair of shining anklets, a unique necklace and excellent rings on all the fingers. Vishvakarma gave her a brilliant axe, weapons of various forms and also an impenetrable armour. The ocean gave her a garland of unfading lotuses for her head and another for her breasts besides a very beautiful lotus in her hand. The (mountain) Himaavat gave her a lion to ride on and various jewels.

The lord of wealth (Kuber) gave her a drinking cup, ever full of wine. Shesha, the lord of all serpents, who supports this earth, gave her a serpent-necklace bedecked with the best jewels. Honoured likewise by other devas also with ornaments and weapons, she (the Devi) gave out a loud roar with a defying laugh again and again. By her unending, exceedingly great, terrible roar the entire sky was filled, and there was great reverberation. All worlds shook, the seas trembled.

The earth quaked and all the mountains rocked. “Victory to you”, exclaimed the devas in joy to her, the lion rider. The sages, who bowed their bodies in devotion, extolled her. Seeing the three worlds agitated the foes of devas, mobilized all their armies and rose up together with uplifted weapons. Mahishasura, exclaiming in wrath, “Ha! What is this?” rushed towards that roar, surrounded by innumerable asuras. Then he saw the Devi pervading the three worlds with her lustre. Making the earth bend with her footstep, scraping the sky with her diadem, shaking the nether worlds with the twang of her bow-string, and standing there pervading all the quarters around with her thousand arms.

 

Compilation Source: Ayan.

 

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How to achieve the state of fullness of Bhairava ?


Devi Paarvati asked Lord Shiva :

O Lord of the Gods, who bears the trident and skulls as ornaments, (tell me) of that state (which is)devoid of time, space and direction and free from (any)characteristics.

By what means can that state of fullness of Bhairava be achieved, (and) how does Paradevi, the highest Shakti, become the face (or entrance of Bhairava)?  Tell me (this), O Bhairava, in the manner (whereby) I shall know it completely.

 

Mahadeva then replied:

Paradevi, whose nature is visarga, or creation, manifests as the upward prana and the downward apana. By fixing the mind at the two points of generation(of prana and apana), the state of fullness results.

When the in-going pranic air and out-going pranic air are both restrained in their space from their (respective points of) return, the essence of Bhairava, which is not different from Bhairavi, manifests.

When Shakti in the form of vayu or pranic air is still and does not move swiftly in a specific direction, there develops in the middle, through the state of Nirvikalpa, the form of Bhairava.

When Kumbhaka takes place after Puraka or Rechaka, then the shakti known as shanta is experienced and through that peace (the Bhairava consciousness) is revealed.

Concentrate on the shakti arising from the root like the rays of the sun, gradually becoming subtler and subtler, until at last she dissolves in the dwadashanta and Bhairava manifests.

(Meditate on that shakti) moving upwards like lightning through all the chakras one by one to the dwadashanta.Then at last the glorious form of Bhairava dawns.

The twelve (centres) should be pierced successively through proper understanding of their (associated) twelve letters. Thus becoming liberated from the gross then the subtle, one by one, at the end (of its journey) the Kundalini becomes Shiva.

Then, having filled the tip of moordha (forehead) and crossed the bridge between the eyebrows, the mind rises above all dichotomizing thought patterns and omnipresence (prevails).

Like the live different coloured circles on the peacock’s feathers, one should meditate on the five voids. Then by following them to the end, which becomes the principle void, enter the heart.

In this way, wherever there is mindful awareness, either on the void, or on another (object such as a) wall, or on an excellent person (such as guru), gradually the boon of absorption into the self is granted.

Having closed the eyes, and fixing the attention at the crown of the head, gradually stabilize the mind and direct it towards the goal, which will become discernible.

One should meditate on the inner space of the medial nadi (sushumna) situated in the central axis of the body (the spinal column), which is as slender as a fibre of the lotus stem, and then by the grace of Devi, the divine (form) is revealed.

By using the hands (as tools) to block the entrances in alldirections, the eyebrow centre is pierced and bindu (orlight) is seen. Being gradually absorbed within that, the supreme state is realized.

Whenever one meditates upon the subtle line, in the form of a tilak (like the mark on the forehead), or on the bindu at the end of the shikha, a condition of agitation and shaking is produced, followed by absorption and dissolution in the cave of the heart.

One, who is adept in listening to the un-struck sound in anahata, (which is) uninterrupted like a rushing river, attains the supreme state of Brahma by mastery of shabda-brahman, the form of Brahman as sound.

O Bhairavi, one who repeats the Pranava (Aum) perfectly,while concentrating on the void for protracted periods, experiences the void, and by that void the transcendental shakti (is revealed).

Whoever contemplates even on the mantras or letters (of Aum) from first to last, in the form of void, verily that sadhaka by meditation on the void becomes the void.

When one-pointed awareness on the prolonged inner sounds of different musical instruments, such as stringed,wind and percussion, is gradually established, in the end the body becomes the supreme space.

By repetition of all the gross letters of the bija mantras successively, including the ‘M’, (and meditating thus on the void within each sound, one verily becomes Shiva.

All the directions should be contemplated upon simultaneously in one’s own body as space or void. The mind (too) being free from all thoughts becomes dissolved (in the vacuous space of consciousness).

One who contemplates simultaneously on the void of the back (spinal column) and the void of the root becomes void-minded (completely free of all thought constructs or Vikalpas) by that energy which is independent of the body.

By steady contemplation on the void of the back (sushumna), the void of the root and the void of the heart simultaneously, there arises the state of Nirvikalpa, which is free from thought constructs.

If one concentrates on the body as a void, even for a moment, with the mind free from thought, then one attains thoughtlessness and verily becomes that form of void (known as Bhairava).

O gazelle-eyed one, concentrate upon all the constituents of the body pervaded by space, so that the thought becomes steady.

One should contemplate on the skin of the body as a mere wall or partition with nothing inside it. By meditating thus, he becomes like the void, which cannot be meditated upon.

O embodiment of good fortune, one who contemplates with closed eyes and one-pointed concentration on the mantra in the middle of the lotus in the heart space achieves the highest spiritual realization.

When the mind is dissolved in dwadashanta by steady awareness and steady practice, the true nature or essence of the goal manifests everywhere in one’s body.

By bringing the mind forcibly to dwadashanta again and again, however and wherever possible, the fluctuations of the mind diminish day by day, so that each moment becomes an extraordinary state.

One should contemplate that one’s own body has been burnt by Kaalagni, arising, from the movement of time. Then at last one will experience tranquility.

In the same way, having meditated with an unwavering and one-pointed mind on the entire universe being burnt (by Kaalagni), that man becomes a Godman or attains a supreme state of manhood.

Dharana on those constituents which comprise one’s own body and the whole universe, such as the tattwas and tanmatras, from subtle to subtlest, leads to the source of existence. (In this way) Paradevi, the supreme goddess, (is revealed) at the end of meditation.

Having meditated on the gross and weak shakti in the twelve Indriyas (thus making it subtle), one who enters the heart space and meditates there attains mukti and becomes liberated.

By meditating on the entire form of the universe and the course of its development through time and space,gradually dissolve the gross into the subtle and the subtle into the state of being beyond, until the mind is finally dissolved (into pure consciousness).

By this method one should meditate on all the sides or aspects of the universe up to the Shiva tatwa (which is the quintessence) of all. In this way the experience of the supreme reality arises.

O great Goddess, one should concentrate on this universe as nothing but void. Dissolving the mind also like this, one then experiences the state of laya, or total dissolution.

One should fix his sight (on the empty space) inside the pot, leaving aside the enclosing structure. Thus, the pot being gone, the mind will at once be dissolved (into the space). Through that laya the mind becomes completely absorbed (in the void).

One should fix his gaze on a treeless place, like bare mountains or rocks, where there is no support for the mind to dwell on. Then the modifications of the mind become less and the experience of dissolution takes place.

One should think of two objects, and in the event of such knowledge being matured, then cast both aside and dwell (on the gap or space) in the middle. Having meditated in the middle, the experience of the essence arises.

When the mind is restrained to one object of awareness,casting all others aside and not allowing movement to take place from one to another, then inside that perception the awareness blossoms.

One should concentrate with an unwavering mind on all existence, the body and even the universe simultaneously as nothing but consciousness, then the supreme conscious-ness arises.

From the fusion of both vayus (prana and apana) inside or outside (the body), the yogi attains equilibrium and becomes fit for the proper manifestation of consciousness.

One should contemplate simultaneously on the entire universe or on one’s own body filled with the bliss of the sell. Then through one’s own nectar, one becomes alive with the supreme bliss.

O gazelle-eyed one, verily by applying the performance of religious austerities, great bliss arises immediately, by which the essence is illumined.

By blocking all the channels (of perception) the prana-shakti moves slowly upwards (through the spinal column). At that time, feeling the sensation of an ant crawling in the body, one experiences the supreme bliss.

One should throw the blissful mind into the fire (manipura chakra) in the middle of that fibre-like lotus stalk (sushumna) or into that which is only full of air (anahata chakra). Then one is united with the remembrance of bliss.

By the union with shakti there is excitation and in the end,one is absorbed into shakti. That bliss (of union) which is said to be the nature of Brahman (ever-expanding consciousness), that bliss is (in reality) one’s own self.

When great joy is obtained (through any event such as) meeting with relatives, one should meditate on that with one-pointedness, until the mind becomes absorbed and the bliss ever arises.

If one concentrates on eating and drinking and the happiness obtained by that joy of taste, from such contemplation of enjoyment arises the state of fullness, which then becomes supreme joy or bliss.

As a result of concentration on the pleasures of the senses, such as music or song, the yogis experience equal happiness (or pleasure) within. By being (thus) absorbed  the yogi ascends beyond the mind and becomes one with that (supreme). 

Whenever there is satisfaction of mind and the mind is held there alone, the nature of supreme bliss manifests. 

By entering that state preceding sleep, where the awareness of the outer world has faded, (the mind is absorbed in the threshold state) which the supreme Goddess illumines.

By gazing on the space that appears variegated by the rays of the sun or an oil lamp, there the nature of one’s essential self is illumined.

One should steady the gaze (without blinking) on the gross form of any object. When the mind is transfixed and made supportless (without any other thought or feeling), it at once acquires the state of Shiva (transcendence). 

O Devi, having fixed the gaze continuously on the clear sky (without blinking) and with a steady awareness, at once the nature of Bhairava is achieved. 

One should contemplate on the sky as the form of Bhairava (until it is) all absorbed in the forehead. Then all that (space) will be entered by the essence of light in the state of Bhairava.

Observing the desires, which spring up in a flash, put an end to them. Then verily (the mind) will be absorbed in the very source from which they have arisen.

(One should contemplate thus:) when my desires do not produce knowledge, then what am I? Indeed being absorbed in the essence I am, and identifying with that, one becomes that. 

When desire or knowledge arises, one should fix the mind there, thinking that to be the very self. Making the mind absolutely one-pointed (in this way), he realizes the essence of the tattwas. 

O dear one, (compared to absolute knowledge, all relative) knowledge is without cause, and thus becomes baseless and deceptive. In reality, knowledge does not belong to any one person. Contemplating like this, one becomes Shiva.

He (Bhairava) is of the nature of undifferentiated consciousness in all embodied forms. Therefore, those persons who contemplate on all creation pervaded by that consciousness, transcend relative existence.